Features for 2017

December 2017

Christmas is an important time of year for all of us, for spiritual and social reasons. For missionaries it can be a difficult time due to their locations and distance from 'home'. Here are seven suggestions for you if you would like to help them.

There are a number of Advent and Christmas resources online, some of them useful if you want to get a more 'global mission' perspective on Christmas, some of them useful if you're overseas and need a little help to prepare for and celebrate this important time of year. OSCAR has collated a list for you.

Do you know how to stay safe in a strange environment? What about avoiding being a victim of crime or kidnapping? What would you do in an emergency? Good Neighbor Insurance have produced a comprehensive guide to staying safe overseas with real-life tips and strategies. It's free and downloadable from their website.

This amazing website enables you to check the wifi speed in hotels all over the world. If you're travelling and working, good wifi is probably more important than many other facilities. With this site, you can check before you book!

Every December we encourage all those who use the OSCAR website to consider supporting this free-to-access service. It actually costs us around 20p for every visit made to our website. With around 800 visits per day, this makes OSCAR significantly dependent on donations to operate. Your contribution enables us to continue to freely serve all users with the tools and resources they need to carry out God's mission. Please help if you can.

November 2017

If you were asked 'What is Mission?' how would you respond? Over the last few months the Church Mission Society have been conducting a survey of the Christian public about what they think Mission is. The results so far have now been published and this month's article reproduces some of the findings. There are some surprising insights! If you haven't participated, there's still time.

Missionaries go through major transitions when they move from their passport cultures to their host cultures and when they return "home." But missionaries also go through transitions before they leave, while they are serving on the field and after they return. This free downloadable e-book by Ron Koteskey includes information about many of these transitions, including the final transition for all of us, the transition from earth to heaven.

The Culture Test is a FREE, five-minute tool for learning your primary culture type - guilt, shame, or fear (just 25 simple questions). You've learned your personality type, now learn your culture type! Understand global cultures, so you can anticipate the cultural collision. The site also has a free, downloadable group discussion guide which you can use with any group to introduce cultural differences.

OSCAR has a Christmas section where you can see which mission organisations sell Christmas cards and gifts for their ministry, as well as those who enable you to buy 'alternative gifts' for people in need all over the world. We also link to the Christmas last posting dates, so you don't miss those international Christmas mailing deadlines. 

Christmas shopping online peaks towards the end of November. Britain is the biggest online shopping nation in the world with around 17% of all retail sales carried out online. That's why affiliate shopping has such a huge potential for funding charities and mission. Using an affiliate link doesn't usually cost you any more than normal but it enables a small donation to go from the retailer to a worthy cause. See our affiliate page for examples. 

October 2017

Have you ever had one of those letters or emails from a church giving you the bad news about their support for you? Well, you're in good company. This month's guest article, written by Rollin Grams, gives us a slightly tongue-in-cheek insight into how Paul might have heard from one of the early, New Testament churches. Very interesting!

With so much going on in the world at the moment, where do we start when we pray? That's where the little book '5 Things to Pray for your World' is designed to help. Each section takes a passage of Scripture and suggests 5 things to pray for a local, national and international issue. A great way to guide your prayers, both individually and with your church.

If you live in a part of the world where Halloween is celebrated, it's not always easy to know how to deal with it. This year, World Vision has put together a programme called 'Pumpkin Heroes', a Bible based resource to help children experience God's love. World Vision's moto is 'Every child free from fear' so if you're keen to change the culture this Halloween, this resource could help.

Infusion is a new online learning platform designed to facilitate the development of cross-cultural gospel workers. Subjects focus around developing biblical understanding and cultural intelligence. Set up by Mark Pickett, the platform consists of a number of courses that you could use as part of a learning community, guided by an experienced mentor, or for study on your own. There are eight short courses, each costing £20 with various introductory offers available.

OSCAR is 'most visited website'

You may be surprised by the number of people that are using the OSCAR website. Our stats show that we have up to 25,000 users per month viewing up to 240,000 pages! That's an amazing amount of resourcing and connecting. Our 'Opportunities' (jobs) section is the most popular area of the site and gets around 100,000 page views. That makes us the most visited and viewed Christian jobs website in the UK, by a long way (so our research tells us) ... and that's only part of what we do. So, just in case you're wondering ... you're at the right place.

September 2017

Sending missionaries abroad is boring. It belongs to a bygone pioneering age. It’s part of cultural imperialism. It’s no longer necessary. It’s not a priority ... That's how Graham Nicholls, our guest author this month, starts his article, suggesting that many churches have these views. Read on if you're curious to know where he goes from there.

The Health Services Gap

With the demise of InterHealth Worldwide in the UK, many mission organisations and individuals are left wondering who else might provide the health services they need. We have contacted a number of those who might step into the gap and have updated our pages, so you might check these first.

Health Advice Membercare & Counselling

Operation World (OW), the definitive global prayer handbook, has been used by millions of Christians to pray for the nations. Now, with the mobile app, you can receive reminders to pray for the “country of the day,” discover information about every nation and engage with the praise reports and more in-depth prayer requests given for each country of the world.

The Luggage Portal website focuses on everything to do with reviewing and choosing luggage and related travel accessories. For frequent flyers, it's essential to have the right gear of a quality that won't fail you when you least need it to. We liked their 6 Must-Have Travel Gear & Luggage Accessories.

After an amazing Summer touring seven major Christian Festivals and Conferences with our jobs boards, we have been invited to host the job boards at CRE (Christian Resources Exhibition) at Sandown Park in October. This would be a great place to advertise any church based roles or to put your mission opportunities in front of the 5000-6000 people expected to attend.

August 2017

With around half of the world's population online, the Internet is an increasingly useful tool for evangelism and mission. This month's guest author, Matt Rich, has been evangelising online for many years and, in this month's guest article, he shares some stories, tips and opportunities to inspire us all to take up the challenge.

Late Summer Holidays

If you're one of those people who doesn't plan ahead when it comes to holidays, there are still options out there if you need a break before the Summer is done. Our holidays section lists all sorts of holiday facilities in the UK. For other places around the world, request our Mission Guest House list and look for a place where you'd like to go.

As we steadily expand OSCAR's resource directories, we have created three new sections to the OSCAR website.  Pioneer Church Planting is a whole new page in the Training section. Creation Care and Pressure Groups are new categories on the Miscellaneous MIssion Resources page. If you have or know of resources or service organisations which fit into these new categories, let us know and we will add them

Our opportunity listings now have the facility for attached files. That means that job description documents and application forms can now be included with opportunity listings. This was actually part of a number of tweaks to our opportunity listings. If you'd like to have any other developments considered, let us know.

In preparation for the Summer festivals, we updated all 24 of our resource sheets. These 2017 versions are now available in pdf format for downloading and printing so you can use them at your church or just to have as a paper reference of OSCAR's core resource sections.

July 2017

With international travel reaching its peak at this time of year, including for those on short-term mission trips, some basic advice for healthy travelling can make a huge difference to the experience and wellbeing of the traveller way beyond the actual journey. Don't learn these the hard way! InterHealth Worldwide take us through their top 10 tips for travellers.

Kingdom Bank is pleased to announce the release of a new range of mortgages designed specifically for those working as missionaries. Customers can now apply for a mortgage for a home that they will live in now or in the future. The Bank already offers mortgages for Buy to Let investment property and with these new products now provides a full range meeting all possible needs whatever the circumstances. Applications will need to meet prudent affordability criteria but the amount and sources of your income do not preclude you from applying. This means that Missionaries serving overseas seeking a retirement home or Buy to Let can apply.

Ellen Rosenberger, author of 'Missionaries Are Real People', launches her second book on July 2nd. 'Ending Well' focuses on how to "leave well" and survive the challenges of re-entry (when moving to your home country after serving overseas). Much of the book includes personal stories from Ellen's own family's transition from Nicaragua to Colorado over this past year.

OSCAR hosts a job/opportunities stand at six major Christian festivals and conferences over the next two months. These include New Wine, Naturally Supernatural, Creation Fest, Bangor Worldwide, One Event and David's Tent. If you have a role that you want to advertise on our board, make sure you submit it in time. The first deadline is Friday 14th July.

If you're attending any of the aforementioned festivals or conferences over the next two months, come and say 'Hi' to OSCAR in the exhibition. We're also leading seminars, organising mission partner get-togethers and being interviewed on stage at some of these events, so get in touch with us to find out where and when. We'd love to meet you!

June 2017

Whether you are sending personal effects, mission supplies, NGO goods, educational materials, shoeboxes or humanitarian aid ... there are many hidden pitfalls to sending goods overseas. How do you avoid them? In this month's guest article, Paul Reynolds from Mission & Relief Logistics Ltd shares some key considerations from their years of expertise and experience in delivering these types of goods globally for mission agencies, NGOs, individual missionaries, charities and donors.

This month's book review focuses on the story of Innocent Magambi who spent the first 27 years of his life in various refugee camps across East Africa. He now directs an NGO called There is Hope that works in a refugee camp in Malawi. It's a story of faith through situations of hardship and oppression, an insight into the real life of one orphaned refugee turned refugee worker. His inspiring story is reviewed by Fiona Poulson.

Reveal from Tearfund's International Learning Zone (TILZ) is a collection of tools (information sheets, activities, Bible studies and good practice guides) for people working directly with local communities or churches. You can search for the tools that are most helpful to you and the communities you are working with. A great resource if you're wondering where to start with making a difference in your community, wherever you are based in the world.

Need a Holiday?

If you don't take regular breaks, you could become more of a liability to the Kingdom than an asset. We know that it's hard for mission workers to take holidays, either due to cost or lack of places to go, so OSCAR maintains a directory of suitable and affordable places to stay outside the UK and within the UK.

OSCAR has a wealth of resources to offer your church. Not only do you have free access to the whole of our website and online community, we can also list your church in our online church directory, advertise any opportunities you have and keep you informed of new resources by email. We can even help you with your church's next mission event. Sign up and see! 

May 2017

Moving from one culture to another does strange things to the mind and body! If you're not aware of these things before they happen, it can at best be disorientating and at worst, end in disaster. Mike Frith, OSCAR's Director, has transitioned to and from five different countries and has led training courses on this topic for over 15 years. In this month's article he outlines six key things he has learnt about this important stage in the life of a cross-cultural mission worker.

Urbanisation is one of the increasing challenges for the world and the Christian community today. This book, another in the series 'Serving God in ...' by Patrick Johnstone with Dean Merrill, explores what's happening with cities around the world and shows how Christian workers are responding to key challenges. Our feature includes a brief review by Dave Kinghorn, Manager of Gloucester City Mission UK.

Later this month, to coincide with Ramadan, 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World starts. The 2017 prayer guide is now available as a PDF and printed in over 25 languages. There is also a 'Just for Kids' version for children and families to use. This is the 25th year since the '30 Days' movement started. Millions of Christians have joined together in prayer, across denominations, languages and cultures to pray for the Muslim world since it began.

If you're a UK citizen outside the UK and you're not yet registered to vote in the upcoming UK General Election, OSCAR has a page dedicated to helping you participate. Alongside advice about voting, we include a few links to help you decide who you might vote for!

OSCAR runs a range of training days, including several for those transitioning from one culture to another. These day courses give an essential toolkit for anyone moving countries or cultures, to keep them aware of the changes and make a successful adjustment to their new situation. Courses coming up include: All Change re-entry days (16th May & 23rd Sep) and Ready-Steady-Go pre-field training (22nd June), all held in Gloucester, UK.

April 2017

Most people in cross-cultural ministry have the occasional, if not regular, need to translate important text. Where do you go to do this? Are online tools, like Google Translate, up to the job? If not, how do you go about finding and choosing a professional translator? Sarah Harrison, a professional translator, helps us through this process in this month's guest article.

One of the five marks of mission is 'To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth'. So how does this work in practice through mission activity? David Gould, OMF International Facilitator for Creation Care, has written a blog for SWAN (South-West Agencies Network) with some great examples across East Asia. SWAN are also running two breakfast events in the South-West (Gloucester and Bristol) where David is speaking.

It's hard to know where Christians from a Muslim background can find a safe place to fellowship with others locally and globally. Spring sees the launch of a new website, Real Honour, as a hub for Muslims who have decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus Christ. You can read some great stories on the website and sign up to receive notifications when the service goes fully live.

Time For Change Ministries provides Biblical resources for use in the prison environment. They have just launched a new Bible studies series, some of which are available in both English and Spanish. Written by Gillian Pegler, a Crosslinks Associate Mission Partner with cross-cultural experience.

Did you know that around 20 organisations sponsor different sections of the OSCAR website? You can see their logos in the 'sponsored by' box on the left side of many pages. Would you consider sponsoring a section? You might choose a page where your ministry is listed, or perhaps you want to help promote the advice and resources provided by a particular section. Sponsorship starts from just £10 per month. All proceeds help us provide these resources to all users for free.

March 2017

Deuteronomy 24 says 'If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.' (vs 5). How does this apply to those going into mission work? What if they go together? Most couples are eager to get to the field and are prayerfully anticipating what it will be like to live, work and worship in a new culture. This month's article by mission mobilizer Wesley Mills gives a framework for thinking this through.

If you're looking to do something different and meaningful for Lent, other than give up chocolate or alcohol, the Evangelical Alliance has collected together a number of resources from various Christian and mission organisations. These include various studies for personal or group reflection, plans for daily prayer, or ways to get active in stepping out and blessing others. For example, Stewardship's 40acts challenge now involves over 100,000 people all looking to make an impact on their community.

If you're looking for an extensive workbook that covers a good range of issues in cross cultural mission, this is the one. It's an update and amalgamation of two previous books published by St John's Nottingham. If you have minimum cross cultural training, this will help equip you for the task. Questions and exercises help you think through the issues. You can work through it on your own, with others or register with St John's Extension Studies and work through it as part of their course. It's currently on offer for just £7 instead of £14.95!

The Internet provides some fantastic opportunities for sharing your faith online, but it's not always easy to know where to start. Chatnow provide a great platform for helping those enquiring about Christianity or faith issues engage with those who can help. They are always looking for volunteers who can give a few hours a week to engage with enquirers. Whether you consider yourself to be a missionary or not, this can be a great way of connecting you to people of other cultures and for sharing your faith.

In the last month we have launched a new opportunities search engine. More sophisticated than the old one, you can now search through hundreds of opportunities by Financial, Duration, Activity, Organisation and Location criteria. It looks clearer too, with organisation logos next to listings and a clear count of the number of opportunities in each selection. Try it for yourself and let us know what you think.

February 2017

Have you ever thought of writing a book? Maybe to put your thoughts or philosophy into print, or to document your story in mission, or perhaps to provide resources for your ministry. It's easier than you think. Madeleine McClintock, this month's guest writer, takes us through her process of self publishing to encourage more of us to 'have a go'.

Do you need a new way to retreat, unwind or meditate? Mindfulness is now a recommended treatment by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Christian mindfulness looks specifically at mindfulness from a Christian and biblical perspective. There are online courses that can be of benefit in personal and spiritual development especially in the areas of mental health and recovery from stress, burnout, anxiety and/or depression.

Skyscanner, the famous travel website, provide tips on various aspects of travel, including choosing baggage solutions. Recent articles have included '10 cabin bags guaranteed to get your hand luggage on board', 'Suitcases you didn't know you needed until now' and '9 luggage accessories for the most organised packing ever'. They also provide a handy Cabin Baggage Guide detailing the hand baggage sizes and weight restrictions for many airlines.

HotelsCombined.co.uk interviewed over 50 professional travel bloggers and asked them for their best money saving tips for travel. The result was a massive database of awesome travel tips. If you have other tips, please share them in our OSCARactive Finance group.

We're running a 'Serving as Senders' day at Upton Vale Baptist Church on March 4th. If you or other members of your church are within reach of South Devon, why not come along and learn all about supporting your missionary? It would be great to have you join us for the day. 

January 2017

To kick off the New Year we have a great article to give us a snapshot of church planting around the world. 'To Fill the Earth with Faith' is the title of a strategic document compiled by the Global Church Planting Network which extracts information from Operation World and details the church planting status for every country. Chris Maynard, one of the main researchers, tells us why this is important for us to know, particularly for those of us in the UK.

Ron and Bonnie Koteskey have written numerous articles and guides for mission workers during their many years of ministry. The amazing thing is that they make most of these available for free. Their basic core publication 'What Missionaries Ought to Know' contains sixty chapters of essential reading material for anyone embarking on mission work of any length. It's free to download too!

Whether you're looking for your first opportunity in mission work, or looking to change careers within the Christian jobs market, OSCAR is your complete job search website. We not only host opportunities from more Christian organisations than any other website in the UK, we also link to all the other Christian recruitment websites. That makes OSCAR the best starting place for finding your next opportunity. You can also subscribe to our weekly email of all the latest job listings, called the 'Opportunities Update'.

Holidays 2017

Now is a good time to plan your holidays, breaks and retreat time. This will stop them getting squeezed out by other priorities as the year progresses. We have lots of good suggestions for holidays geared for mission and Christian workers, in the UK and around the world, plus retreats for adults and holidays for children. Also, check out the new StayMarta website ... like Airbnb but Christian. They are also looking for hosts from around the world.

For UK, go here
For outside the UK, go here
For retreats, go here
For children's holidays, go here

Your OSCAR

Did you know that around 430 Christian organisations and churches now manage their own information on the OSCAR website? Each has an account to both update their organisational details and add vacancies/opportunities. We also have a large number of organisations adding their events to our events list, making it the UK's most dynamic source of 'what's on' mission-wise. You too could be a part of all this! Contact us for more info
To open an account for your organisation, go to www.oscar.org.uk/packages
To add your events, go to http://oscaractive.ning.com/events